When we think of summer, we think of fun. With the kids out of school, it seems like there are endless possibilities. The problem is that most of those ideas come with a price tag — and if you’re working hard to stick to a financial plan, then it might seem like that price tag puts those fun summer plans out of reach.
But, the truth is, with just a little creativity, there are are plenty of things you can do as a family to have fun this summer while not breaking the bank. Read on to find out some of the best ideas for enjoying summer this year on a budget.
Enjoy the Water
No matter where you live, chances are you’re somewhere near water. It could be the ocean, a lake or a nearby stream — the water offers a great place to go and cool down. Even better, most water can be accessed relatively cheaply. Depending on the facilities, you might have to pay a few dollars for parking or entrance, but other than that, it doesn’t cost anything to spend the day swimming or laying out to catch a tan (except maybe some snacks).
Take a Hike or Grab Your Bike
Just like most communities offer areas near the water, just about every town, city, or municipal area offers miles and miles of hiking or biking trails. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of trails available on state and federal lands, which means that there are bound to be trails nearby that are begging to be explored!
If you want to go camping, you can still do so while saving money. There are over 4,000 camping areas in the United States that offer a chance for a family to get away from it all for a low price. Chances are you’re not far from a campsite right now, but if you’re looking to take an actual trip, choosing to spend the night camping rather than in a hotel room is a great way to save a few dollars.
Most family-run campsites offer sites between $30 and $50 (depending on your camping needs), and you can find even cheaper campsites in the various state parks scattered all over the country, with tent sites as low as $10, if not less. You could even camp in your very own backyard!
Take up a Hobby
When it comes to saving money, it doesn’t get cheaper than staying at home. But what to do while you’re there? One idea is to take up a new hobby. It could be painting, running or learning a new language online — picking up a new hobby or skill can be an inexpensive way to occupy your time while staying out of the summer heat.
Watch a Movie
Many communities often have movie theaters, community centers, or libraries that offer free summer movies. These family-friendly events usually draw a crowd, which gives you a great, budget-friendly way to enjoy a film while connecting with others in your community.
If you like the idea of watching movies but don’t want to leave the house to do it, there are countless options now to let you bring the magic of the theater to your home for just a small fee. Introduce your favorite movies to your kids or come up with a family-friendly marathon (like Harry Potter or Marvel, for example) that can keep your family occupied for days.
Have a Picnic
If you’re getting tired of staying at home and need to change the scenery for a few hours, one inexpensive option is to take your lunch to a nearby park or field and have a picnic. It doesn’t cost anything at all (unless you go to a park that charges a few dollars for admission) and the novelty of eating outdoors is one the kids will be sure to love as well.
One of the great things about summer is all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available. Why not take this one step further and pick them yourself? It doesn’t take more than a simple search online to find a nearby farm, and most farms offer a “pick your own” option. Take the whole family and stop by your local farm to see what’s in season. Also, what makes this great is that you can go back every few weeks and see what new fruits and vegetable are ready for you to discover.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much money to enjoy yourself this summer. You don’t even have to leave your home to enjoy yourself, but if you do go out, there are plenty of inexpensive options that will help you and your family make the most out of this summer.